December 10 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Thousands of extra visitors have flocked to Ipswich since the “Quids In” scheme for cheap parking was introduced at the start of September.
Quids In was devised by Ipswich Central in a partnership with the borough, Suffolk Country Council, Ipswich Buses and NCP (whose Cox Lane and Tacket Street car parks are included in the scheme).
Ipswich Central are keen that it should run through to Christmas as the town works hard to attract shoppers who might otherwise go to centres out of the area.
Ipswich Central Chief Executive Paul Clement said: “This is an excellent example of partnership in action and we are pleased with the support the Quids In campaign has given to Ipswich’s retail offer.
“Quids In has clearly been a success and we are delighted with progress so far.”
Retailers have also backed the scheme.
Marks and Spencer has been has been an enthusiastic backer of Quids In since it launched, handing out thousands of Quids In promotional cards to customers. Other retailers throughout the town centre have also been participating.
Jackie Norbury, Store Manager at M&S Ipswich said: “The Quids In campaign has made a real and significant difference to our store.
“From three o’clock onwards we have noticed an increase in shoppers in the area which has really added to the positive and busy atmosphere in M&S and along the rest of the high street.
“Initiatives like Quids In are a brilliant way of encouraging people to come out and shop in their local town centres.”
The boost on the buses has been less clear because of the problems faced by passengers with the closure of the Tower Ramparts bus station.
However Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson felt the campaign was making an impact: “The number of passengers have fallen because of the closure of the bus station, but that is almost all pensioners with free passes – so they would not be affected by the promotion.
“Our revenue, though, has gone up – and I think the promotion is playing its part in that. It certainly seems to be worthwhile.”
Now pressure is mounting to keep it running to Christmas and beyond.
The promotion gives drivers unlimited parking after 3pm in borough and some NCP car parks in the town for £1, and a £1 fare on Ipswich Buses and Park and Ride services into the town after 3pm. The offers apply to weekdays only.
New figures released by the borough council show that during the first three weeks an extra 2,000 drivers used the borough’s four main car parks.
And, surprisingly, it found that the number of cars using the parks between 2pm and 3pm – before the reduced charges apply – has also increased by 300.
Overall, more than 6,000 extra customers used borough’s car parks throughout the day since the campaign started on September 2.
Borough leader David Ellesmere hinted that the authority could consider continuing with the initiative after it is due to come to an end on November 15.
Retailers and other town centre businesses are desperate to attract shoppers and those seeking to enjoy the festivities during the run-up to Christmas.
Mr Ellesmere said: “The initial results are very positive. We will continue to review the financial implications and talk to our partners.
“We cannot say yet what will happen after the trial period but all options are open at this stage.”
The Quids In message also appears to be spreading. The third week saw nearly 1,000 extra customers in four car parks after 3pm, compared to an increase of 655 in the first week of operation.